Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

May 2009 : Krakow

I first visited Krakow (pronounced KRAK-oof) in May 1999, before the low-cost airlines turned it into a popular destination. When the opportunity arose to join frequent-flyer friends Andrew, Stephen, Justin, Michael, Ross, Mark and Paul for a return visit fully ten years later, I jumped at the chance. The Bank Holiday weekend was blessed with glorious Spring weather in Southern Poland and, although our programme included its share of sombre moments (see below), a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all.

Old Town

Wieliczka Salt Mine

Our itinerary included a visit to the nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine, now an acclaimed visitor attraction. While it contained some undoubted highlights, the general consensus was that the tour dragged on a bit, not helped by huge Bank Holiday weekend crowds.


As mentioned above, the weekend wasn't all about laughter and fun. No trip to Krakow is complete without a visit to nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau, site of the former Nazi concentration camps, where 1.5 million people were stripped of all human dignity, then starved, tortured and murdered simply for being who they were. This was my second time at this place, but it was no easier for that. The inhuman depravity of what happened there, as well as the sheer scale of the atrocities, are overwhelming in a way that words cannot adequately describe.

I think I can say, however, that all members of our group were glad to have made the visit. As someone wiser than I once observed, those who do not remember the past are condemned to seeing it repeated.

Auschwitz I



Wawel Castle

The castle complex on Wawel Hill, which includes the cathedral and the National Art Collection, is one of the city's great highlights.

Base : Sheraton